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Published September 24 2013

Forum editorial: Neo-Nazi might be homeless

It looks like North Dakota’s celebrity white supremacist/racist/neo-Nazi/routine nutcase (pick your poison) would rather fight than fix very fixable public health violations at his dilapidated house in Leith, N.D. The town of fewer than 20 permanent residents has been in the headlines because Craig Cobb and his out-of-state associates have tried to buy lots in town with the aim of taking over city government and making the place a haven for people who think the way they do. He’s done nothing illegal so far.

Cobb was served with complaints citing his property as a public health nuisance before the dustup about what he was doing was known. (He was not the only Leith property owner slapped with notices.) His violations include not being connected to a water supply or an up-to-standard septic system. He was given five days to provide a plan to address the violations. He did not. Without a plan, Cobb’s house will be found unfit for habitation by the health practitioner who works for Grant County, and the matter will go to district court. If the court agrees, an order of eviction will be issued to Cobb.

Cobb has two choices: Take the matter to court or bring his property into compliance. He’s said he won’t comply, a decision that suggests he’s more interested in making a statement than being a good neighbor. He is not without resources, some from his allies in the national white supremacy movement. If he can afford a court tussle, surely he can afford to comply with water and septic regulations. If he were sincere about living peacefully in Leith, he could have presented health officials with a plan to comply.

The best outcome for the people of Leith? Cobb fails to clean up his property, loses in court, the house is condemned, he’s evicted and he leaves the previously quiet little town.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.